Where The Jobs Are and Where It's Hardest to Get Them

Jobs are most plentiful, but most competitive to get in big coastal cities.

A sign attracts job-seekers during a job fair at the Marriott Hotel in Colonie, N.Y., on Oct. 25, 2012.

A sign attracts job-seekers during a job fair at the Marriott Hotel in Colonie, N.Y., on Oct. 25, 2012.

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Although the economy added some 170,000 jobs in October, for many Americans still looking for work, the question is: Where are they?

According to data culled from postings on the job search site Indeed, the best employment prospects are concentrated in big, coastal cities. Here's a look at the top 10 cities with the most job postings per capita:

Metro Area
Job postings per 1000 people
San Jose, Calif.
153
Washington, D.C.
120
Raleigh, N.C.
117
Hartford, Conn.
103
Boston, Mass.
96
Baltimore, Md.
96
Denver, Colo.
85
San Francisco, Calif.
77
Austin, Texas
76
Seattle, Wash.
75

Source: Indeed

"The healthiest metro area job markets tend to be those with industries that allow them to stay viable during shifts in the economy," Mike Werch, communication manager at Indeed, wrote in an E-mail. Despite deep cuts in federal government jobs, the Washington, D.C. metro area has been buoyed by the hiring activity of defense contractors and IT firms. Similarly, San Jose, Calif. is a hub for established tech companies as well as emerging start-ups that are aggressively looking for talent.

But while jobs might be more abundant in those metro areas, they're also some of the most competitive labor markets in the country. Today, 13 cities have a ratio of one unemployed person for every job posting. Just two years ago, only two cities could claim that kind of job market competition. Here's a look at the 10 tightest job markets in the country:

Metro Area
Unemployed per job posting
Washington, D.C.
1:1
San Jose, Calif.
1:1
Boston, Mass.
1:1
Raleigh, N.C.
1:1
Oklahoma City, Okla.
1:1
Salt Lake City, Utah
1:1
Baltimore, Md.
1:1
Columbus, Ohio
1:1
St. Paul, Minn.
1:1
Hartford, Conn.
1:1

Source: Indeed

But even if some metro areas are seeing job growth, the future looks bleak. A recent survey of financial professionals who work with business owners found that 65 percent of respondents were less likely to increase hiring in the coming year.

"Combine the national debt with other political uncertainties, like what will happen to business tax rates, and it makes sense that business owners are experiencing general unease," Libby Bierman, an analyst at financial information firm Sageworks, wrote in an E-mail. "Until that sense of unease goes away, they will be hesitant to make large investments, including investments in more employees."

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Meg Handley is a reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can reach her at mhandley@usnews.com and follow her on Twitter at @mmhandley.